Swedish Shooting Brake: 1973 Volvo 1800ES

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This is my favorite Swedish car of all time, although this one is perhaps not my favorite example due to the color. However, it does look like a pretty solid car as long as you catch the rust quickly. It’s located in Santa Maria, California and is up for sale here on eBay. Bidding is starting below $1,000, but the reserve has not yet been met. 

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By merely adding on one of the pretty glass hatches ever made, Volvo totally transformed the original 1800 into a proper British-type shooting brake (2-door station wagon). I think this is my favorite view of the car. Unfortunately, you can see more corrosion on this side.

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The seller states that they parked the car when the fuel pump died a couple of years ago, and haven’t gotten back to it. They feel that with a new battery and new fuel pump the car would fire right up–if it were mine and that was all it would need, I’d want to do that prior to selling the car to get the most money for it. What do you think?

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Inside it’s a bit of a mish-mash. The current seats are from a Mazda RX7, but the original buckets come with the car, as does the original steering wheel. That is a third pedal you see, and in addition to the usual four speed manual transmission it has the Laycock electrically actuated overdrive as well. I’ve always wondered why Volvo was the only major manufacturer that used this type of overdrive apart from the Brits–anyone know of others, or why?

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Wow, it sure is dirty under here. It does look pretty original, though, and untouched (in more ways than one). I think a detailing could get it looking lots better, though. When I googled “1800ES fuel injection” to see what I could find about the fuel pump, it’s apparent that there have been many issues over the years with the Bosch D-Jetronic systems. Take a look at the pages here and here for more information if you’re interested. So my question to you on this car is whether you’d rather own this example at a lower price and plan on fixing it up, or purchase one that needs less work? Let us know in the comments what you think!

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Comments

  1. Don E

    I wanted one for years. Finally bought a low mile example last year. Very practical, utilitarian, comfortable …. I was bored out of my mind for the 6 months that I owned it. It was like driving a Swedish truck all day.

  2. Farmer doug

    Money would be better spent on a set of side draft webbers than getting too deep into the injection. Unless originality was key for the new owner.

  3. JohnM

    Once the D-jet sits for any extended period of time, you’re better off ripping all that junk off of there and replacing it with twin SUs. I love these cars, and old Volvos in general, but no way it “just needs a fuel pump” at this point. On the positive side, this example is more rust free than 90% of the remaining unrestored examples out there. If I had the room for it I’d seriously consider it. Great project.

  4. B Paul

    I was a Volvo tech when these were new, These 1800’s were designed in England for Volvo, that’s why the smiths gauges, girling components, Lucas electrics (on some earlier 1800 versions), su carbs (early), and laycock overdrive. In the early days Volvo shared a lot of components with the English cars of the day, why I never knew when the Germans were closer and had much better products. When the 1800es wagon was made it was a big improvement over the 1800 in looks. Definitely 1 of the prettiest wagons made, even if they do drive like a truck.

  5. DRV

    I would do a mega squirt system.
    The fuel pump is around 300.00 and is the later recirculating type , and often a new distributor at 400.00 plus is often needed for the FI points.
    Mine still has the original injectors and air sensor and runs great, but it was expensive to get right 25 years ago. Then I wish I did the SUs, and now that there are FI options I would do one of those.

  6. Alan

    I love Swedish racing mustard. Especially on a 544

    • DRV

      I think the mustard was ’70 and older, where this is a later different “yellow” . I have had both, and referred to the mustard as baby poop.

  7. Dolphin Member

    As cool as these Volvo 3-doors look, you buy them for ruggedness, practicality, and maybe a bit of style in the case of this car, but not for performance. This car’s style and interior are just a bit misleading that way.

    These ’73s were from the year when the emissions standards got ratcheted up, and driveability / performance / gas mileage all went down. The ’73 wagon I owned was the worst driving Volvo I ever had. So in addition to servicing the engine I would swap in a set of SUs and the right fuel pump and distributor and be a lot happier than the current owner probably was.

    Anyway, it’s at about $3K with 5 days to go and no reserve, so it will probably go to someone who wants what the car really offers. For that person I think the rust doesn’t look too bad—-but when you go to look at the car, better get down on your knees, look under the car, and pray. And always bring a magnet and a handkerchief too.

  8. Randy

    I’m currently working on an ES myself. I found that a sway bar replacement with some IPD components and fresh suspension bushings does a lot for this car. I was able to get my F/I working properly, but will probably opt for the SU or Weber conversion for reliability. I had good success with that on some other Volvos of this period.

    My transmission needed a rebuild, and I got the overdrive unit done too. I don’t know why they just didn’t find a five speed to begin with. Probably because the Brits were working on it at the time. Still, I’m not unhappy with the performance. It will never be like my Aston Martin, but it is lots of fun for not much money.

    Can’t beat the styling on these.

  9. Russell

    Well, lots of unkind words about these. I like them and want one, but please quit with the shooting brake. I’d like to see you fit a hunting party, gear, and the game you shot in this. How about calling it a sports wagon?

  10. Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    I would take this on in a heartbeat! I love these… But then I am a sucker for old P1800 styling… This leaf covered 70 ES has shown up before, but its one I couldn’t resist to take out of the weeds, so this yellow wagon is looking pretty easy!

  11. Chris A.

    This has some serious rust, but Volvos seem to have enough good metal left to give you a chance with the repair panels. Good looking car but way up on weight and way down on power. IPD to the rescue. This could be a nice car with a sincere effort.

  12. Mike Williams

    Great car, one of my favorites. I hope it is saved.

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